Laylat al-Qadr ~ the Night of Decree

Quranic Picture of Surah al Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر‎) (also known as Shab-e-Qadr), variously rendered in English as the Night of DestinyNight of PowerNight of Value, the Night of Decree or Night of Measures, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan. It is the anniversary of the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

[1]     بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ [2]  وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ [3]  لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ [4]  تَنَزَّلُ  الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ [5]  سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ [6]0

[97:1] In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. [97:2] Surely, We sent it down during the Night of Decree. [97:3] And what shall make thee know what the Night of Decree is? [97:4] The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. [97:5] Therein descend angels and the Spirit by the command of their Lord with Divine decree concerning every matter. [97:6] It is all peace till the rising of the dawn.

Laylatul Qadar is a night of great blessing in which Allah (swt) showers His Mercy upon those of His believers whom sincerely and faithfully love and obey His Will. It is a night which is commonly associated with the revelation of the Holy Qur’an but also has other meanings which are all deeply rooted in Allah’s attribute of Rahmaniyyat.

From the above verses of the Holy Qur’an (97:1-6) we are made to understand that Laylatul Qadr literally means the ‘Night of Decree/Power’. It is a night which is of greater value than a thousand months (1000 being the highest numerical figure in Arabic) and in which the angels descend upon the Earth and help to breath a new life into mankind. We also know from another place in the Holy Qur’an (44:4) that it is a , ‘Blessed Night” (لیلة القدر‎)

In the context of Surah al-Qadr we find that Allah (swt) is referring to the most
blessed of nights in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Hadhrat Khatamul
Anbiyaa and he recited those blessed verses that will forever live in the hearts of all believers

Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (rh) writes in his Tafsir al-Kabir that the words ‘Therein ‘descend angels and the Spirit’ (تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا)  signify that,

’…the Angels of God descend to meet and satisfy every religious need and to remove all obstacles and impediments from the way of the expansion and spread of the new Message.’’
(Tafsir al-Kabir, Pg.2859, Ft.4786)

In this context Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (rh) has explained that the words

‘one thousand months’ ((أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ)) have several meanings two of which are that:

  1.  as Laylatul Qadr is better than a countless number of nights this signifies that the period of the Holy Prophet (saw) is greater than all other periods combined;
  2.  the rich content and value of the Holy Qur’an is greater in worth than the combined research and efforts of all learned men. This definition is derived from the word Months (( شَهْرٍ)) which can also mean learned men.

Revelation to Muhammad

Laylat al-Qadr is believed to be the night when the Quran was first revealed. All Muslims believe that revelation of the Quran occurred in two phases, with the first phase being the revelation in its entirety on Laylat al-Qadr to the angel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic) in the lowest heaven, and then the subsequent verse-by-verse revelation to Muhammad by Gabriel. The revelation started in 610 CE at the Hira cave on Mount Nur in Mecca. The first Surah that was revealed was Surah Al-Alaq which is also commonly referred to as Surah Al-Iqra. Muslims should worship as much as they can on this night. This night is also believed to be the night when God decides the destiny of everyone.

Laylatul Qadr also has a wider understanding and can signify that when mankind reaches a point of darkness and is in need of reform Allah (swt) answers their need by sending a new reformer. In relation to this a period of 1000 months roughly amounts to a century and can thus be linked to the saying of the Holy Prophet:

‘Verily God will continue for ever to raise for this Ummat in the beginning of every century one who Will restore for it its faith.’ (Abu Dawud, Kitabul Fitan)

Religious importance

Sunnah

Muslims often pray extra prayers on this day, particularly the night prayer. They awake, pray, and hope God will give them anything they may desire on this night. Mostly, they performtilawat (reading the Quran).

Those who can afford to devote their time in the remembrance of God stay in the mosque for the final ten days of Ramadan. This worship is called Iʿtikāf (retreat). They observe a fast during the day and occupy themselves with the remembrance of God, performing voluntary prayers and studying the Quran, day and night, apart from the obligatory prayers which they perform with the congregation. Food and other necessities of life are provided for them during their stay in themosque. Devoting time to remember God, Muslims also hope to receive divine favors and blessings connected with Lailat ul-Qadr.

Quran

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand:
Peace!…This until the rise of dawn!
—Sura 97 (Al-Qadr), āyāt 1-5

The verses above regard the Night as better than one thousand months. The whole month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual training wherein believers devote much of their time to fasting, praying, reciting the Quran, remembering God, and giving charity. However because of the revealed importance of this night, Muslims strive [give more effort] harder in the last ten days of Ramadan since the Laylat al-Qadr could be one of the odd-numbered days in these last ten (the first, third, fifth, seventh or ninth). Normally, some Muslims from each community perform iʿtikāf in the mosque: they remain in the mosque for the last ten days of the month for prayers and recitation.

In another hadith the Holy Prophet advises as to when one should seek Laylatul Qadr saying:

‘’Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan’’
(Al-Bukhari, Vol.3, Bk.32, No. 234)

The Promised Messiah (as) is known to have said that should the 27th
night of Ramadan fall upon a Friday then through Allah’s (swt) Grace this will often be Laylatul Qadr. In light of the above blessed narrations it is incumbent on each believer to increase his or her worship (Ibaada) during the last ten days of Ramadan and pray sincerely that they may benefit from the fruits of Laylatul Qadr and have all their previous sins forgiven, Insha-Allah. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) delivered a Khutbah on the subject of Laylatul Qadr (14 Nov, 2003) where he emphasised the need for each believer to pay special attention to not only the last ten nights of Ramadan but indeed to every night. Huzur (aba) indicated that one reason behind the ambiguity of which night Lailatul Qadr falls upon is to ensure that believers spend all of the last ten nights in Ibaada and do not simply ritualise one appointed night.

In further explanation of this subject Huzur (aba) added that the Holy Prophet
said whoever offers all their prayers during the month of Ramadan in congregation gleans a large portion of Laylatul Qadr. Therein is the significance that in order to experience this night one must maintain the highest standard of righteousness throughout the month, paying the dues of Allah (swt) and the dues of mankind.
Huzur (aba) explained that although certain ahadith signify the appearance of signs (like flashes of light) to verify that one has experienced Laylatul Qadr, these signs are not obligatory to Laylatul Qadr. Indeed the Holy Prophet would gather immense resolve and determination at the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, spending these days in worship of God of the highest and most excellent eminence. He enjoined us to profusely engage in remembrance of Allah during these days, to glorify Him and to exalt His greatness.

To support us in this effort the following prayer (dua) to be recited on Laylatul Qadr was conveyed to Hadhrat Aisha (rh) by Hadhrat Khatamul Anbiyaa :

اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tu hibul ‘afwa fa ‘fu ‘anni

O Allah! You are the Great Pardoner, You love to pardon. Hence I seek Your pardon
(Ibn Maja, Kitabul Duaa)

May we each engage in sincere worship during this blessed month and incur the Mercy of Allah (swt), Insha-Allah. Ameen

4 thoughts on “Laylat al-Qadr ~ the Night of Decree

  1. Capet

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  2. Lista de

    This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is a very nice one and gives indepth information. thanks for this nice article. regards

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